Record-breaking numbers have now signed a petition calling for Transport for London to reverse its decision to strip Uber’s licence in the capital.
Save Your Uber in London was set up on the Change.org website after it was announced the firm would not have its licence renewed when it expires on September 30.
The petition had gained more than 500,000 signatures, 24 hours after the decision was made public on Friday morning. The petition followed a short time later.
Kajal Odedra, UK director at Change.org said: “That is the fastest growing petition we’ve seen in the UK this year.
“The speed with which this grew shows how powerful online campaigning can be.
“In just 24 hours we’ve seen hundreds of thousands of people start and sign petitions on either side of the Uber/TFL debate.
“Sites like Change.org show how quickly the voices of ordinary citizens can become part of a debate between corporations and Government departments – a debate that previously would be held behind closed doors.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who backed the TfL decision, said anger from customers and drivers “should be directed at Uber”.
In a new statement, he said: “I know that Uber has become a popular service for many Londoners – but it would be wrong for TfL to licence Uber if there was any way this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety or security.
“As Mayor of London I welcome innovative new companies that help Londoners by providing a better and more affordable service – but providing an innovative service is not an excuse for not following the rules.
“All companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect – particularly when it comes to the safety of customers.
“I have every sympathy with Uber drivers and customers affected by this decision but their anger really should be directed at Uber. They have let down their drivers and customers by failing, in the view of TfL, to act as a fit and proper operator.
“I suspect it will take some time before this situation with Uber fully plays out.
“In the meantime, I will continue my work to help support innovative businesses in London and to create a vibrant and safe taxi and private hire market.”
Responding to the petition Fred Jones, Uber’s UK head of cities, told the BBC: “I think people realise that this decision by the Mayor and Transport for London is actually because they have caved to pressure from a small number of individuals and groups that want to protect the status quo and reduce consumer choice and competition from London.
“We are a very large operator in London, we’ve been operating in London for five and half years and are regulated by TfL.
“Obviously during that period TfL have regularly audited us. They’ve carried out the largest audit in their history and we passed with flying colours.
“The last time they audited us to check we were playing by the rules, they found that there were zero errors in our processes.
“This was one of the strange things around the TfL notice yesterday is they are the ones who do all of the checks and license the drivers.
“They are the ones that decide whether an individual is fit and proper to transport members of the public around the capital.
“When a driver signs up to the app, we make sure they’ve got all the correct paperwork from Transport for London but we don’t do background checks ourselves.”